Last week my new mother’s helper, K, worked her first day with us – she came recommended by some trusted mama friends and I decided I really did need to get some regular help again, since Mum’s arthritis is limiting her ability to care for the kids right now. K is a lovely young girl who was recently nanny to a family of 3 kids, one of whom had autism, so she can handle what my kids throw at her. She’ll be working for me one day a week and doing some evening sitting when needed.
DD took to her right away (despite insisting all week that she didn’t want a new sitter) and I listened from my computer desk as DD and K got to know each other. It was a very interesting experience. I’m so used to all of DD’s personality traits that sometimes I forget how unique and wonderful she is. She was drawing when K arrived, and described the deep ocean scene with Gulper Eels and Anglerfish and how she thinks she might like to be a marine biologist when she grows up so she can go down in a submarine and study deep sea creatures. Then she asked K to draw a solar system and she told K what the planets looked like (which of them had rings, what colour they were). And then they moved on to books, and K ended up asking DD how to pronounce the names of certain dinosaurs…I couldn’t stop listening to them.
My feelings of pride and love were not about the facts she knows, or how complex the subject matter is, it’s about the obvious pleasure she takes in learning, and in talking about these things. You could hear the passion and excitement in her voice. She and K talked about many things, and DD seemed so happy to have someone who was really listening and interested in talking about this stuff (alot of kids her age just aren’t). DD was polite and even charming, something I’m sad to say I’d lost sight of completely in recent weeks.
Seeing her through fresh eyes was a much-needed reminder of all that is good and wonderful about my daughter. She really is a unique, interesting, and delightful little girl and it’s all too easy for me to forget that, to become blind to it and see only the parts I can’t handle very well. It’s sad to think how much I’d been focusing on the “bad” things, and not seeing the good anymore. But now the image in my head has been refreshed, and I’m going to try and keep that picture going, especially when I encounter aspects of her personality that are more challenging to deal with.